I can be anxious.
A chronic worrywart.
I come from a long line of worrywarts, and I must tell you it is not getting better with subsequent generations. My daughter will probably have a list of her lists by pre-school.
Some amazing and powerful gifts come along with being a worrier. It means I’m a planner, a do-er, a leader, and a fixer.
It also means that I can allow the destinations of my life to overshadow the journey. This week, I allowed myself to let go and really enjoy the ride.
It all started with one of those awkward playground mom-versations:
Proud Mom #1: Awwww, your little girl is adorable! How old is she?
Me: Thank you. She is just 13 months.
Proud Mom #1: Oh. Is she walking yet?
Me: Nah - she’s pretty happy just to crawl and stand right now.
Proud Mom #1: Hmm…. My little babynamehere was walking at 10 months. She’s 18 months now and running the Hadron Collider project in CERN....she has 2 PhDs, etc….
As parents, we live for milestones. Our doctor's appointments, photo albums, family updates and moments of parenting success are all based on milestones. Hitting those milestones is drilled into us as the sacred measurement of our child's journey as a human being.
I understand and respect the important medical need for milestones in detecting potential developmental delays. I am absolutely sold on their importance.
And, as an A-type list-maker, I am very driven to be checking off those milestones as they happen:
To me, those checks are reassuring.
Most children take their first steps between nine and twelve months. So I wanted to know why my daughter, Wish, wasn’t walking. It was worrying me (see above, re: chronic worrywart).
As luck would have it, an answer arrived in my inbox at the perfect time. Wish and I were given the serendipitous opportunity of test-running the Fisher-Price Signature Style Lion Walker, which is part of Fisher-Price’s new toy line.
When the box arrived, I couldn’t wait to set it up. Wish spent the morning spinning, flipping, pressing, and bouncing to the music. She was excited about this happy, new, musical creature parked in her living room. I was happy she was fully occupied while I folded a load of laundry.
Watch what happened next:
I sincerely couldn't believe what I was seeing. Wish was actually standing and pushing the Lion Walker back and forth across our main floor. I stopped folding laundry and picked up the iPad to record her hilarious little waddle. I was beaming.
We spent the rest of that rainy afternoon zooming all over our main floor.
Milestones might be the destination, but it's the journey that is all the fun. I need to put myself in check once in a while so that I don’t miss that fun.
Wish didn’t care that she was accomplishing a major milestone — she was having a blast! One of my absolute favourite toys as a child was this Fisher-Price Medical Bag. If you were a kid of the ‘80s, you probably had one, too. I never said: "I love how this is helping me reach milestones by broadening my sensory experiences through imaginative play.” Heck no. I just enjoyed poking and prodding all the people in my family!
Being an organized list-maker can often distract me from enjoying life in the moment. I’ve heard many an experienced parent say that it's not all about hitting those milestones, but about making the memories along the way.
That’s good advice, but the list making part of me couldn't help but smile this week, when I got to put another big check-mark on our milestones list.